Week 15 was beautiful. Denver, New England, and Cincinnati all lost, so the Colts climbed a game by virtue of Houston; meanwhile, AP writer Michael Marot has a bit regarding seeding, as the AFC playoff picture stands right now.
Last Monday, after losing at Cincinnati, the Colts (9-5) appeared to be locked into the AFC's No. 4 seed and were trying to generate some momentum before hosting their first playoff game of the post-Peyton Manning era. But after losses by Denver (11-3), New England (10-4) and Cincinnati (9-5) this past week, the Colts find themselves right back in the seeding chase.
Indy closes out the season with a trip to Kansas City, which locked up a playoff spot with a win at Oakland, and at home against a Jacksonville team that has been much better over the second half of the season. Win both and anything, including a longshot jump to the No. 1 seed, is still possible.
It wasn't just that those teams lost; they lost in identical games. Beaten out by division rivals, almost hanging on while people wonder how good their quarterbacks really are (besides those who actually watch Manning play). Put it this way – Indy's still probably going to finish fourth.
They only hold the tiebreaker over Denver; to get there, Denver would have to blow meaningful games against Houston and Oakland. That isn't going to happen.
New England plays Baltimore and Buffalo. After watching what transpired against Cleveland, we can be sure of the refs giving them at least one of those wins (and, by virtue of Bill Belichick, they'll probably get the second as well). 12-4 is uncatchable.
They don't hold anything over Cincy, so the Bengals will have to lose one more game than the Colts from here. Cincy plays Minnesota and Baltimore; unless they keep sliding, they should pick up both wins.
In other words, after losing to Cincy, Indy had basically wrapped up the #4 seed. Not that it's impossible for them to rise, but I'd rather they hosted Kansas City in the final – a team who, to this point, only has one win against a .500-or-better team (Philly) – than Miami or San Diego (or Baltimore, for that matter). They've already been beaten by the former two; a rematch of last year, if Baltimore makes it, might make me gag; and again, I don't think Kansas City is very good.